Posted by: Adam Roake | May 14, 2009


I wasn’t going to blog about our future king’s speech at the RIBA because Piers Gough et al said it should be boycotted.

Anyway I read the transcript and I was just appalled – who wrote that stuff and is he (or do I mean He?) really so ill informed about architectural history that he doesn’t know that Organic Architecture was coined by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the heroes of the Modern Movement – it never had an “…older meaning“; has he never heard of the ‘Modulor‘, a Modern Movement inspired ordering system based directly on the human body and linked inextricably with the same geometric ideas underlying Classicism; and did he not see the photographs of the Parthenon in Corb’s “Vers une Architecture“, did he not understand the praise for the Classical within that seminal Modernist text (or maybe he’s never read it)?

I think the most idiotic parts of the speech are those where he decries “current practice” – almost everything he describes in this way is simply not current. On highways design, he seems to have missed the publication of “Manual for Streets” now over two years old; Christian Norberg-Shulz‘s seminal work “Genius Loci, Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture” was required reading when I was at architecture school in the 1970s, so I’m not sure which “… Schools of Architecture and Planning have persisted in teaching an approach which is deliberately counter-intuitive to the human spirit and to the underlying patterns of Nature herself“; and it is as if all of the fantastic work to improve public realm design done over the years by CABE, an organisation run for the most part by architects, planners and urban designers, has simply not occurred.

But hey, Modernism apparently is a “great experiment” that has led us away from the true path and brought us to the Edge of Destruction; and architects, other than those who follow the great Saint Quinlan of Terry, are the false prophets of this abomination. I can’t help feeling there’s just a tinge of a persecution complex here. Is that from Prinny or his entourage?


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